THE HANGOVER: DRAFTSTARS WEEKLY WRAP
Indigenous round was powerfully represented over the weekend in the AFL and NRL by our fantastic indigenous Australians. Hailing from all over the country from remote places such as Palymra in Western Australia and Tiwi Island just off the coast of the NT, indigenous players certainly contribute to making our games what they are. Both football codes currently playing in Australia did a stand-up job of honouring the round.
Eight games of NRL kicking off on Thursday and culminating on Sunday saw a bit of a shift in the power rankings of the prime movers as the Knights beat up on the Roosters and the Cowboys crunched the Raiders. The Rabbitohs reigned supreme, however, and the Storm snatched second place outright on the ladder.
In the AFL, it was a tough round of tipping with a number of line ball calls. As it happened, all favourites bar the Doggies and Crows won as Geelong, Collingwood and GWS consolidated their spots in the top three and Richmond climbed into the four. The big losers were the Lions who fell to the Dockers by a solitary point, kicked after the siren, and dropped two spots on the ladder.
And the NBA Finals are set after Toronto won four straight against the Bucks to secure a 4-2 series win in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
And, yes, they will face the Warriors in the finals. The same Warriors side who have made their fifth consecutive finals series, winning three (so far). KD and Boogie are going to return so Toronto need to take an early game or two if they will be any chance. Kawhi Leonard is the Raps only hope.
AFL ROUND TEN
The Swans tried their darnedest to topple the all-conquering Magpies. Again, Brodie Grundy was completely unstoppable for the Pies, but the performer of the night was Swan forward Sam Reid. His six goals accounted for over half of Sydney’s score as well as leading him to 125 DS points.
Hawthorn again reigned supreme in Tasmania as they do so often. Ricky Henderson continued his fine season for the Hawks with 37 touches and 143 DS points. But Jack Gunston was the chief destroyer with six goals, his best output of the year his 21 disposals also helped him to 133 DS points.
With the impending departure of Brad Scott sending shockwaves through the Roos, the players were inspired and took down the Dogs. Todd Goldstein had a vintage outing with a return to his 2015 All-Australian form. 28 disposals and 57 hit outs showed what he was once capable of and led him to 153 DS points.
The Eagles stormed home to overcome Adelaide. The Crows missed a huge opportunity to consolidate their season but it was not due to Cam Ellis-Yolmen who was sublime with 30 disposals, 10 tackles and a goal culminating in 134 DS points.
Geelong were made to work for their victory over Gold Coast. The usual suspects contributed for both sides with Brayden Fiorini (122 DS points), Tim Kelly (126 DS points) and Mitch Duncan (118 DS points) leading the charge. Tom Atkins had the best game of his career for the Cats with 96 DS points thanks in large part to his 11 tackles.
Dreamtime at the G turned out to be a bit of a snore fest with most of the crowd spending their time in the bar rather than watching the game. It was their loss though, as, despite the low score, Liam Baker switched one on for the Tiges. He had 24 touches, nine tackles and booted a snag to take him to 112 DS points.
The Demons were deplorable against a GWS side that may now have conquered their MCG hoodoo. As always, Josh Kelly (135 DS points), Tim Taranto (130 DS points) and Lachie Whitfield (120 DS points) ruled the roost. On this occasion however, Harry Himmelberg dominated in attack with five majors and 102 DS points.
In the end, St Kilda were victorious over a plucky Carlton side. The match only saw one player reach the triple figure milestone, that player being Jack Steele. Steele is compiling a serious season and his 28 touches, 10 tackles and 119 DS points reiterated that to the competition.
The match of the round was played out between the Dockers and Lions. Stacked with a host of star indigenous players, it was Michael Walters who proved the match winner with his after the siren poster carrying Freo to a one-point victory. Arguably the best player on the ground though was Luke Ryan. Ryan cleaned up down back with 32 touches, 111 DS points and the handball which helped set up Walters’ shot on goal.
As previously said, we have our Finals competitors. Toronto made their first finals appearance in history, thanks basically to Kawhi Leonard and nobody else. He was insane against the Bucks and has been simply unstoppable all playoffs. But his defensive efforts opposed to Giannis AintWinningInToronto are what led the Raps to victory.
On the other hand, Golden State barely broke a sweat as they swept the Blazers. Funnily, the sweep was the third consecutive time Rodney Hood has been swept by the Warriors. Steph Curry was unconscious in the series and he completely offset the loss of Kevin Durant. He averaged over 36 points for the series and topped it all off with a triple double in the game four victory.
In fact, he and Draymond Green both had triple doubles in the victory with Green recording 18 points, 11 assists and 14 boards.
Looking ahead, most pundits expect an easy Warriors win. And that’s probably fair enough. But Kawhi Leonard smells blood and he is out for vengeance after Zaza Pachulia felled him, and the Spurs, in the 2017 playoffs. He also leads the playoffs in points scored by over 100-points and has the sixth most post season points prior to playoffs of all time.
So who wins? It has to be the Warriors. They have a team made up of all-stars and they bat fairly deep. With KD and Boogie returning to the line-up, this is undoubtedly the Warriors series to lose.
But Kawhi destroyed the Heat’s hopes of a three peat in 2014. And he was just 24 then, and was just emerging as a potential star. If the Raptors hope to win the series, they need to win early games. Can Kawhi do it again against the potent Warriors team? In short, probably not. While he may lock down one star each game, the other three will hurt him and his side.
Written by Brin DugganAFL, Latest, NBA, NRL